OpenCourseWare (OCW): Smart Way To Learning

The OpenCourseWare (OCW) are high quality organized courses  published digitally  and absolutely free to use, OCW is available for use and adaptation under an open license, such as certain Creative Commons licenses. Also, OCW does not normally provide certification or access to faculty.

What is OpenCourseWare?

The OpenCourseWares (OCW) is free educational course wares provided by several Universities across the world with an outlook to encourage and broaden the information base of client through free content and resources etc. Most influential concept was developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, today  MIT is providing about 1800 course material of under graduate and graduate programme through internet under its Open Course Ware (OCW) module. OCW offers all major subjects of education including professional programs like Mathematics, Basic Sciences, Management, Humanities, Language, and Engineering & Technology etc.

The open course ware is a university material approved under the Creative Commons Attribution – non commercial – share same license. The OCW material is made accessible to anyone; the material is distributed via internet. The OCW material is available in many subjects. Any one from any part of the world can access the material at their comfort.


OpenCourseware, came into existence in 1999, when the University of Tubingen in Germany made videos available online for its tims initiative (Tubinger Internet Multimedia Server). But the real break through came after the launch of MIT OpenCourseware at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2002. The movement was further strengthened by the commencement of similar ventures at Yale, the University of Michigan, and the University of California Berkeley.

MIT's reason behind initiating OCW was to "promote learning globally by the availability of a network of knowledge". MIT also confirmed that it would permit learners including MIT students to come prepared for classes. Since then, many universities have constructed their own OCW projects, some of which have been financed by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

As MIT begin its task of teaching masses through its Open Course Ware (OCW), many other institutions of the world follow the trend. As a result, in 2005, the MIT’s Open Course Ware and other leading OCW projects formed the OCW Consortium.

Advantages of OCW

The main beneficiaries of OCW are self-learners, participating universities and faculties.
According to MIT, there are many advantages of OCW:
  1. Absolutely free of cost and is available to anyone with internet access.
  2. Educators can utilise it to develop and enhance their own curiculla
  3. 35% freshmen, who knew of OCW before MIT have accepted that OCW has influenced their choice to be there.
  4. It also encourages faculty member to update their courses on regular basis.
  5. It has provided richer learning experience to the students and the data reveals, OCW is mostly used by:
    •  90% of Students
    •  84%  of faculty
    •  50% Alumni and staff

Disadvantages of OCW

Courses are not available for credit and the inability to interact with the professors who create the materials.

A basic learner of the course (someone who is not enrolled within a degree program) could quickly read through the study materials and not fully understand the information because they have not had a chance to be in class discussions or submit written assignments.

List of Universities Offering OCW

Currently, the following universities' OpenCourseWare are included in OCW Search:
  1. School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins (institution:jhsph)
  2. MIT (institution:mit)
  3. Notre Dame (institution:nd)
  4. The Open University UK (institution: openuniversity)
  5. Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (institution:politecnicamadrid), Spanish courses
  6. Stanford Engineering Everywhere (institution:stanford)
  7. Delft University of Technology (institution:tudelft), English and Dutch courses
  8. UMass Boston (institution:umass)
  9. The University of Tokyo (institution:utokyo), both English and Japanese OCW collections
  10. Yale University (institution:yale)
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